- Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - This time, Jordan Morgan got the ball to bounce the right way - and Michigan celebrated.

A little more than one year after missing a last-second tip-in that would have given the Wolverines a share of the Big Ten regular-season title, the 6-foot-8 forward scored on a layup with 7.9 seconds left to give No. 8 Michigan a 64-63 victory over Illinois in Friday’s Big Ten tournament quarterfinals and a shot at another league championship.

“I’m telling you - I probably exaggerate - 10,000 times, at least 2,000 times in five years Jordan Morgan has run that same drill,” coach John Beilein said. “There’s a bag to hit him, you still got to catch it in a crowd and keep it up and dunk it if he can. He said he wanted to add a little drama to the game, so he decided to put it up on the rim.

Illinois had a chance to win it when Tracy Abrams drove in for a layup, expecting contact, but the ball hit the front of the rim and bounced off. No foul was called.

It’s about time something went right for the Wolverines (24-7) in this tournament.

Since going 3-0 to win the first title in 1998, Michigan has not won more than one game in the annual tourney. The Wolverines later vacated that tourney title because of NCAA infractions, and Michigan has endured everything from an embarrassing 21-turnover game in a 2006 first-round loss to Evan Turner’s buzzer-beating 40-foot heave, which gave rival Ohio State a 69-68 quarterfinal win in 2010.

Things are supposed to be different this year.

After ending a 28-year drought between outright regular-season titles with a win at Illinois last week, Michigan came into this weekend with the No. 1 tourney seed for the first time in school history and with a full head of steam - six straight wins.

But it almost happened again.

Michigan blew a 13-point second-half lead, scored just six points in the final 7½ minutes and then wound up getting bailed out by Morgan when Big Ten player of the year changed the play coach John Beilein called in the huddle.

“I was looking to be aggressive and raised up to shoot and man, the guy guarding me was still chasing me and the big was chasing me too and J-Mo rolled down the lane and he was wide open,” Stauskas said. “I hit him with the ball and he laid it in.”

The Wolverines’ usual trio led the way. Stauskas had 19 points despite going 4 of 12 from the field and 2 of 10 on 3-pointers against Illinois’ zone defense, Glenn Robinson III had 15 points and seven rebounds and Caris LeVert finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Yet it was Morgan, who wound up the star. He made the only two shots he took - none bigger than the layup he never expected that sent Michigan into Saturday’s semifinals against No. 24 Ohio State, the defending tourney champ. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes rallied for a 71-67 win over fourth-seeded Nebraska.

Michigan won this season’s only meeting 70-60 last month in Columbus.

Morgan, who missed the shot that gave Indiana last year’s outright regular season title, made this one.

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